From it’s fantastic surf breaks to its warm water, surfers flock to San Diego in their droves to catch some amazing waves. But San Diego isn’t just a surfer’s paradise, it’s a great city to visit and is full of surfboard companies and stores meeting the demands of all these keen surfers!
But whether you’re a local or tourist, the sheer amount of stores selling or renting surfboards and other surfing gear make it difficult to determine what the best ones are. But that’s where we come in.
Below you’ll find ten of the best surf shops in San Diego in a few different neighborhoods, so you can find an excellent surf shop near you.
1. Hansen Surfboards, Encinitas
Address: 1105 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am-7pm and Sundays from 10am-5pm.
Phone: +1 760-753-6595
Hansen Surfboards isn’t just one of the oldest surf shops on this list, but the biggest. Hansen Surfboards was founded by Don Hansen in 1961.
Originally from South Dakota, Hansen first shaped surfboards in a shack on the Oahu’s North shore, and moved to Encinitas in the 1970s. Since then Hansen Surfboards has grown into a 20,000-square-foot store, across from the break at Swami’s.
The store has a staggering 500 boards, many of which are Hansen models. At Hansen Surfboards you’ll also find boards from top companies like Channel Islands Surfboards based in Santa Barbara.
But if you’re more into the surfing style than the surfing itself (and we don’t blame you, it’s pretty cool!), then there’s plenty of Hansen-branded clothing to enjoy such as t-shirts with the company’s original logo that have a cool, retro feel.
2. Mitch’s Surf Shop
Address 1: 631 Pearl St., La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 459-5933
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm
Address 2: 363 North Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:15am-5:45pm, closed on Sunday
If you’re in the La Jolla or Solana Beach area and are thinking of hitting the water then you need to stop by Mitch’s Surf Shop first.
Not only are they experts in surfing, but they also sell all the equipment you need for paddle boarding and spearfishing too. Both their stores in La Jolla and Solana Beach have rental options, perfect if you want to dip your toe into a new activity, or if you’re just passing through.
It’s also a great place to go if you’re into surfboard shaping too, as they have an excellent selection of blanks and resin shaping supplies.
3. Bird’s Surf Shed
Address: Bay Park: 1091 W. Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92110.
Phone: (619) 276-2473
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm
Like Hansen Surfboard, Bird’s Surf Shed is a legendary surf shop in San Diego. It’s been open for decades, and is a self-proclaimed San Diego surf destination.
It’s hard to imagine San Diego surf culture without Bird’s! Covered floor to ceiling in surfboards, Bird’s is passionate about surfing, not just selling surfing gear but holding surf film premieres and running hands-on board shaping clinics from experts.
Bird’s Surf Shed was founded by Bird Huffman who has been involved in the San Diego surf community since his early youth, and his passion for surfing has not, um, wavered. After working in various local stores for decades, he took his knowledge and opened up Bird’s Surf Shed.
For Bird, board riding isn’t just limited to a specific board, it’s whatever board that lets you achieve that perfect stroke. This is because when he was a kid, Bird was constantly on the lookout for any board he could get his hands on, including kneeboards and foam boards as well as surfboards.
Bird is still obsessed with collecting them, learning their stories, analysing their mechanics and sharing what he’s learned with the community.
4. PB Surf Shop
Address: 4208 Oliver Ct. San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: (858) 373-1138
Hours: 9am-6:30pm all week
Another storied surf shop, PB Surf Shop opened in 1962 and has become a staple of the Pacific Beach community thanks to its homely, family feel. One look at the old logo and you’re sure to be humming ‘Good Vibrations’ and daydreaming about catching some amazing waves.
Despite being around for so long, PB Surf Shop hasn’t lost its authenticity while still keeping up with the times. You can buy all their gear, surfboards, wetsuits, and clothing online as well as in store. The high-quality gear and friendly, knowledgeable staff are sure to make for a memorable visit.
As well as being a surf shop selling all the equipment you could want, they’re also a surf school! Not only that, but they are one of the most affordable surf schools in the San Diego area. It goes without saying that both the store and school are well-established, and show no signs of slowing down now!
5. Clairemont Surf Shop
Address: 6393 Balboa Ave. San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 292-1153
Hours: Monday to Friday 10am-7pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Clairemont Surf Shop is another long-time surf shop beloved by the San Diego surfing scene. A family business that opened in 1976, there’s nothing that Clairemont Surf Shop doesn’t have – when it comes to surfing at least! But one thing they always have in stock is an impressive knowledge of surfing.
6. Mission Surf
Address: 4320 Mission Blvd., San Diego, Ca 92109
Phone: (858) 292-1153
Hours: 9am-6pm all week.
PB Surf Shop isn’t the only multi-tasking surf shop on our list. Mission Surf doesn’t just provide you with all the surfing equipment you need, but they also put you right where you need to be. This is because they rent two Airbnb apartments directly over the store!
To get all your equipment you just need to roll out of bed, head downstairs, buy your equipment and you’ll be hitting the beach in no time.
Talk about a convenience store! Situated right on Mission Beach, the perfect wave is just a couple of minutes away, and if you would like a change of scenery you can head a few minutes north to Tourmaline Beach.
7. South Coast Surf Shop
Address 1: 5023 Newport Avenue Ocean Beach, CA 92107
Phone: (619) 223-7017
Hours: 10am-6pm all week.
Address 2: 740 Felspar St., San Diego, CA 92109
Hours: 10am-6pm all week.
Another long-running store, South Coast Surf Shop was opened in 1975 and has become a staple of the community. They have a well-stocked store, as well as a website where you can buy equipment online. In fact, its charm, beloved place in the community, and great business have led to four sister stores opening across San Diego.
They also offer a great rental service if you find yourself wanting to surf but have no surfboard (hey, it happens). To rent a surfboard from South Coast Surf Shop, visit their Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach shop just a block away from the surf.
Their staff will let you know what’s available, and whether you’re after a longboard, shortboard or foam top, South Coast Surf Shop is sure to have it!
They also offer rental wetsuits that are warm and flexible and available in all sizes from the best wetsuit manufacturers.
Also, if you’re looking for a new board but want to try it out before buying then you can take their demo surfboards from the store and other major surf labels for a whirl. If you’re interested in these demos, just ask a member of staff!
8. Sun Diego Boardshop
Address 1: Belmont Park | Mission Beach: 3126 Mission Blvd. Suite A, San Diego, 92109
Phone: (858) 866-0108
Hours: 10am-8pm all week long
Address 2: Fashion Valley: 7007 Friars Rd #844 San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 268-2295
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday to Saturday 10am-8pm, and Sunday 12pm-6pm
Address 3: Westfield UTC 4465 La Jolla Village Drive Suite #H-14, San Diego, 92122
Phone: (858) 646-0632
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday to Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 11am-7pm
As the name suggests Sun Diego Boardshop don’t just specialize in surfboards, but any kind of board you can think of. Surfboards, skateboards, paddleboards, even snowboards can be found at Sun Diego Boardshop! What’s more, they have three stores in San Diego, so there’s sure to be one near you!
9. Rip Curl Surf Center
Address: Pacific Beach: 4287 Mission Blvd. #A CA Pacific Beach, 92109
Phone: (858) 273-8070
Hours: 9am-7pm all week
One of the most recognizable names in surfing, you can find Rip Curl stores all around San Diego. However, the best Rip Curl store can be found in Pacific Beach. Whatever surfing equipment you’re after, you’re sure to find it at Rip Curl, and their clothing range accommodates all ages and genders.
10. Emerald City
Address: Coronado Island: 118 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
Phone: (619) 435-6677
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 10am-6pm
Named after the breathtaking evergreen barrels of Coronado, Emerald City was opened in 1988 by two local San Diego brothers, Kelly and Larry Kraus, who were into skateboarding and surfing before it exploded in popularity.
They grew up in Imperial Beach, CA before migrating north to Coronado in the late 1970s where they moved on from surfing the big waves at the Tijuana Sloughs to the mesmerizing green barrels at Coronado’s major surf spot, Outlet.
But Kelly and Larry didn’t limit themselves to just a couple of surf spots. They would hit the waves at a number of beaches around the world, befriend those in the know in the industry, before opening the first surf shop in Coronado.
They named their store ‘Emerald City,’ not just because that is the nickname of Coronado’s famous green barrels but this premier store really is like the Emerald City found in the Wizard of Oz – a magical, must-go-to destination for Coronado surfers.
Emerald City was founded by a family of surfers, is run by surfers, and was created for those who love surfing. They offer a huge selection of apparel, industry leading accessories, and also sell skate equipment as well as surf equipment.
They’ve been going strong since the 80s, selling anything you could ever want to buy for a day at the beach. They also have a generous selection of rentals for those just passing through. If you are a tourist, you really can’t beat a visit to Emerald City for a great Southern California experience!
If you’re buying rather than renting however, their price matching guarantee is sure to snag you the best deal, and saves you traipsing around San Diego looking for the best deal. Although we think a day spent at these surf shops is a day well spent!
If you’re a surfer living in San Diego, we’re sure you’d agree with the statement that one of the best things about living in the area is having access to some of the best surfing beaches in the country.
San Diego draws in surfers from far and wide, and luckily the abundance of surf shops in every neighborhood meets the demand of surfers eager to catch the perfect Californian wave. What’s more, these surf shops offer something for every type of surfer, no matter what level you’re at.
For new surfers, we recommend stores like PB Surf Shop that not only offers lessons to help you get started or improve your new skills but has equipment available to rent too.
Meanwhile, for tourists we’d recommend Mission Surf. With their Airbnb apartments to rent above the store, it’s a surf shop and accommodation in one. You’ll have everything you need for your surfing trip under one roof!
But if you’re an experienced surfer, you’re sure to love stores like Emerald City, Hansen Surfboards or Bird’s Surf Shed. Their nostalgic vibe and passion for surfing are sure to delight die-hard surfers.
So whether you’re a hardcore surfer, a San Diego local, a newcomer to the surfing scene or a tourist just wanting to dip their toes in the San Diego surfing scene, any of these surf shops will cater to your every need.